These are the best gay festivals and parties in Toronto you need to check out when visiting this bustling Canadian city.
These are our 5 best gay events in Toronto you should consider checking out and planning your trip around.
1. FEBRUARY: Rhubarb Festival
The Rhubarb Festival is Canada’s longest-running new works festival, taking place at the awesome Buddies in Bad Times theatre in the gay village of Toronto. It is a 10 days festival every February, which started in 1979. It has since grown from strength to strength each year, and is today funded partly by the government, partly by private sponsors.
Rhubarb is a festival where artists explore new possibilities in theatre, dance, music, and performance art. This is the place to come and see the most adventurous ideas in performance.
During the festival there are around 3/4 shows taking place, and no two nights of Rhubarb are ever alike. For more information, check out the Rhubarb archive on the Buddies in Bad Times website.
2. MARCH: SNAP! Photo Auction & Gala
SNAP! is an annual photographic fundraising event for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). It features two events: the Live and Silent Art Auction of contemporary photography, and a photo competition. Some of the works in the auction sell from $200 up to $8,000.
The proceeds from SNAP support ACT’s programs and services, increase their awareness of HIV and AIDS, and add to their art collections. Since it started in 2002, SNAP has raised over CAD$3 million in support of these programmes and services of ACT.
To find out more about SNAP, check out their website.
3. MAY/JUNE: Inside Out LGBT Film & Video Festival
Inside Out is the largest LGBT film and video festival in Canada. It takes annually in May/June and has been going strong for over 20 years since it began in 1991. It's grown so successful that a similar annual event has been taking place in Ottawa since 2007.
The festival celebrates the best queer film from Canada and around the world and features around 200 films and videos produced by, and about, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people from around the globe.
4. JUNE: Toronto gay pride
Pride is perhaps the most famous of all gay events in Toronto. We love the gay pride of Montreal a lot and definitely want to experience the even bigger gay pride of Toronto, which takes place in June. It's famous for being one of the largest pride festivals in the world, with around 1 million attending.
During the Toronto gay pride festival, the Church and Wellesley gaybourhood morphs into a weekend-long open-air party venue with loads of live music, street food, beer gardens, craft stalls and theatre.
In Toronto, the whole of June is devoted to this big festival and it becomes Pride month. If ever there's a time to visit Toronto, it's during this awesome festival. For more information about what's happening during Pride, exact dates and more, check their official website.
5. OCTOBER: Halloween gay party
The annual Halloween party on Church Street in October is another huge gay event in Toronto worth planning your trip around. It attracts thousands of revelers, some in costume, and of course, many wearing very little.
During the Halloween party, around 3 blocks in the gay village of Toronto are pedestrianized, with the festivities starting at around 7pm and going into the early hours of the next day.
For more read why we think Canada is one of the most gay friendly countries in the world and watch our vlog about Toronto's gay scene:
Happy travels are safe travels
What to do in Toronto?
As well as a fab gay scene there's plenty more to see and do in Toronto. From shopping to nature and everything in between, we know you won't get bored!
For more inspiration:
- Check out these romantic things to do in Toronto for gay couples
- Read our interview with Barry from Toronto to find out what it's like to grow up gay in Canada
- Have a look at our gay guide to Montreal
- And get your tastebuds ready to sample the best gay restaurants in Montreal as well
- Head over to the other side of the country with our gay guide to Vancouver
- And see what it's like experiencing Whistler gay pride in the snow!
- You can find some inspiration with our favorite gay pride outfit ideas
- And make sure you pack these essential gay pride accessories before you go